Home » Section 4A, The Arts » Three more days to check out this rare treat

Three more days to check out this rare treat


San Diego is a relatively small town when it comes to art, so I am always rather astonished to learn about a new gallery or art-oriented event that has been active for a while. I am even more surprised when the gallery and/or event in question are showing work that is very relevant to the LGBT community. I understand that I am not the keeper of all queer knowledge, but I tend to think I have my finger on the pulse of gay art in town.

That said I am excited to tell you about the JDC Fine Art Gallery down on Kettner Blvd. in Little Italy and in particular a small, tight exhibition of portraits by photographer Jess T. Dugan. The exhibition is titled Every Breath We Drew and it has been up for a while, so you only have until Aug. 31 to go check it out. Most, though not all of the photographs on display are portraits of the transgender and gender variant community.

It rarely happens this way, but I actually saw the artist and heard her speak about her work before I experienced her photos in any real way. Usually it is the other way around. Dugan was speaking at the San Diego Museum of Art as part of SDMA’s Summer Break program of activities. She spoke eloquently, charting her short career and describing her photography which is almost entirely about identity, often transgender identity, environmental portraits that strive to find a balance between masculine and feminine constructs.


Dugan describes her images as psychological portraits of people she may know a little or a lot, but who most definitely constitute a community that she belongs to. It was an interesting talk. Dugan showed many images in her slide presentation. One is hung within the permanent exhibition of the museum while about ten are on display at the JDC Gallery, a space that has been open for a few years now that specializes in contemporary photographers.

Dugan’s portraits are lovely, most notably characterized by color, composition, a quality of light that only large format film seems to be able to capture and by the direct, often melancholy gaze of her subjects. These are not fussy photos, but they are strong, successfully provoking questions about what feminine and masculine mean.

There have been quite a few projects happening around town this past year that have focused on the transgender community. In fact, work by and about transgendered folk has become extremely prominent and welcome in the art world nationwide. If you’ve been following this trend then make a point of seeing Jess T. Dugan’s work before it comes down. Check the Web site before you go for hours and note the gallery is not at street level! Look up for a large window sign.


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Posted by on Aug 29, 2013. Filed under Section 4A, The Arts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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